Cybersecurity researchers have discovered two new types of cyber attacks that make the security of most computers on the market a fear.
The new attack vectors use Spectrum, an important security vulnerability in the Intel, AMD and ARM processors discovered last January .
These potential attacks exploit the behavior of modern processors, which are designed to operate faster by attempting to predict the next actions of a user, a behavior called “speculative execution.” Processors therefore load portions of the software in use before they are requested, resulting in a smoother work experience.
However, speculative execution was pointed out during the discovery of Specter, because it can be exploited to circumvent the defenses of a computer and take control. As this function is related to the way the processors are made, there is no way to fix its defects.
No ideal solution
Intel, AMD, ARM, Microsoft, Apple and the Linux community have all developed spectrum mitigation measures through software updates.
The new attack vectors discovered by researchers Vladimir Kiriansky and Carl Waldspurger may, however, bypass some of these mitigation measures.
Intel, however, offers a solution to programmers to mitigate attack vectors released this week. The company suggests modifying vulnerable software so that they stop using speculative execution.
However, this solution has a major flaw: it slows processor operations and the overall performance of the computer.
“If we have to rely on software mitigations that force designers to think about the need for these mitigations, we could face decades of speculative execution attacks,” the researchers write in their report .
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